Oil has collapsed from $147 to under $50 a barrel. Merrill Lynch says it is on its way to $25 a barrel. The oil nations cash flow is drying up, and they are going to be desperate. At this price, technologies for tapping new resources like clean coal, the tar sands in Canada and oil shale in the United States are no longer cost effective.
Ford and GM make poorly designed and unpopular cars with the exception of a rare few. Most are quality disasters and either cost much more than equivalent higher quality foreign vehicles or are just plain low quality junk.
In stark contrast, Ford and GM, and even Chrysler to a degree, make the best trucks in the world. With gas prices plummeting, people will return to their historic love of trucks!! This is especially true of men, who adore their trucks. C’mon guys, do you really enjoy driving that Prius?
There is so much utility in a well-designed truck, it is incredible how much more useful it is day to day than the average car. No Civic can carry four passengers AND a refrigerator, 52″ television and a living room chair at the same time! And we would love to see a Honda Fit tow a camper, a boat or any other payload for that matter. This makes trucks not only useful for home owners and other average Joes, but it also makes them the only practical solution for most businesses. And with gas prices plummeting to what Huffington Post says could be $1.00 a gallon, even the worst gas guzzlers aren’t impractical.
Trucks burn more fuel. OK, but gas is plummeting. If oil gets to $25 a barrel, gas could get to as low as a buck!! Why would anyone purchase a Prius when, at its price, it would take you a century to save back the difference in fuel on a basic economy car if gas remains at $2.00 a gallon!! And all indications are that it will!
Businesses that succeed focus on their strengths, and we are not talking about the disaster “Ford Focus”. The Big 3 MUST make the best trucks in the world. Raise the quality bar. Raise the efficiencies. Make them what America needs and wants. Make them affordable. This will make them untouchable by foreign auto makers, most of which couldn’t manufacture a decent truck if they tried.
That is not to say the foreign manufacturers aren’t up to the challenge. Honda has the Ridgeline; it is a clear threat. It won truck of the year in 2006 in North America. Toyota has the Tundra, and it is looking more like an American truck every day!! The big three cannot surrender that market and survive. GM and Ford have a huge line of trucks and they cannot be caught unless they surrender. They also manufacture a huge line of commercial trucks that are world-renowned.
Step one for the survival of GM and Ford. Throw out the auto business; don’t compete with the foreign manufacturers, they have been whipping your butts for years. Ford and GM compacts are the jokes of the industry. Make trucks!! But take the efficiencies and make the best trucks in the world and make them true quality.
We have heard the talk by JD Powers of a narrowing in the quality differences between domestic and foreign, but we don’t see it as true. The newer Ford SUV we discarded for a Toyota burned over a quart of oil a month (which Ford said was normal) and had major electronic problems starting at 60,000 miles. We don’t even want to discuss all the problems we had with our Chrysler. It would be an entire article all by itself. We have been happy owners of Toyotas and Hondas since.
We are talking about true quality. Engines that do not burn oil. Quality comfortable interiors that make one feel like they are on par with the foreign competitors. Make efficiency and power improvements. They will need dependability that is untouchable, so people know these American made vehicles, with proper care, will not see a problem for 100K miles or better. Add to it an untouchable warranty, which you won’t need to worry about much if you make quality vehicles, and voila. Throw in service for 36K miles and beat Japan’s prices and you have a winner. Ford and GM with various models have proven it can be done, but their record is spotty with many quality disasters mixed in.
The truck market is the only market where American “car” manufacturers still have the lead, and they have it world wide. It is counterintuitive, because we just faced artificially inflated oil prices that have put a major hurt on our economy, but it is right. Use it to crush the competition, and leave the econo-box business to Hyundai.